Civilian Matilda Violet Bleakley died during the Belfast Blitz on 15th April 1941 aged 50 years old. Born on 3rd July 1890, she was the daughter of William Crotty and Elizabeth Crotty (née Downing) of Wolff Street, Belfast.
Matilda had older siblings; Jane Crotty born on 19th April 1881, Thomas Crotty born on 25th April 1882, Mary Ann (Marian) Crotty born in 1883, John Crotty born on 12th February 1885, James Crotty born on 12th February 1885, Elizabeth Downing Crotty born on 4th March 1886, George Manson Crotty born on 24th July 1888. She also had 2 younger siblings, Helen Crotty born on 13th March 1892 and Leslie Crotty born on 4th March 1894. With a growing family, Shipwright William Crotty moved from Wolff Street to Dee Street and on to Thorndyke Street.
On the night of 15th-16th April 1941, the Luftwaffe attacked the city of Belfast in what became known as The Easter Raid of the Belfast Blitz. Thorndyke Street sustained severe damage and a high loss of life on that night.
Among the dead were Matilda Violet Bleakley, Thomas William Bleakley, and Mary Ann Crotty. Matilda Violet Bleakley’s name is on the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour at St. George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, London.
On 26th June 1941, an inquest took place at Belfast City Hall. Coroner Dr. Herbert P Lowe heard evidence relating to the reported deaths of many victims of the Blitz. Matilda Violey Bleakley’s son Thomas William Bleakley of Loopland Park, Belfast asked whether there would be an inquiry into the condition of the city’s air-raid shelters. Lowe responded that it was a matter for the local Air Raid Precautions or the City Surveyor.